Gene Golovchinsky, Ph.D.

In Memoriam, 1965 - 2013

Gene Golovchinsky

Before his untimely passing in 2013, Gene was an active research scientist in the Human-Computer Interaction and Information Retrieval community.  His work on Collaborative Exploratory Search and Querium sought to help people satisfy complex collaborative information seeking needs such as those that occur during e-discovery, academic research, and intelligence analysis.

Before that, Gene was the project leader and lead architect of the DICE usable conference room system, which controlled a variety of devices and applications to support users’ tasks in conference rooms, and the ReBoard whiteboard capture and retrieval system.  He also worked on collaborative data collection systems, web services platforms for mobile computing, distributed annotation systems, and freeform digital ink annotation for tablet computers.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he worked on a variety of pioneering pen-based tablet applications, including a pen-based document reader for an In-Q-Tel contract, and the XLibris active reading appliance. He also designed a client-server annotation storage architecture prototype in use in Fuji Xerox’s DocuWorks/ArcSuite product.

Before joining FXPAL in 1996, Gene earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles and Ph.D. from the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Interactive Media Lab, part of the Human Factors/Ergonomics area at the University of Toronto.

Co-Authors

Publications

2014
Publication Details
  • SIGIR 2014
  • Jul 6, 2014
  • pp. pp.495-504

Abstract

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People often use more than one query when searching for information. They revisit search results to re-find information and build an understanding of their search need through iterative explorations of query formulation. These tasks are not well-supported by search interfaces and web browsers. We designed and built SearchPanel, a Chrome browser extension that helps people manage their ongoing information seeking. This extension combines document and process metadata into an interactive representation of the retrieved documents that can be used for sense-making, navigation, and re-finding documents. In a real-world deployment spanning over two months, results show that SearchPanel appears to have been primarily used for complex information needs, in search sessions with long durations and high numbers of queries. The process metadata features in SearchPanel seem to be of particular importance when working on complex information needs.
2013
Publication Details
  • EuroHCIR 2013
  • Aug 1, 2013

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People often use more than one query when searching for information; they also revisit search results to re-find information. These tasks are not well-supported by search interfaces and web browsers. We designed and built a Chrome browser extension that helps people manage their ongoing information seeking. The extension combines document and process metadata into an interactive representation of the retrieved documents that can be used for sense-making, for navigation, and for re-finding documents.
Publication Details
  • SIGIR 2013
  • Jul 28, 2013

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Exploratory search is a complex, iterative information seeking activity that involves running multiple queries, finding and examining many documents. We introduced a query preview interface that visualizes the distribution of newly-retrieved and re-retrieved documents prior to showing the detailed query results. When evaluating the preview control with a control condition, we found effects on both people’s information seeking behavior and improved retrieval performance. People spent more time formulating a query and were more likely to explore search results more deeply, retrieved a more diverse set of documents, and found more different relevant documents when using the preview. With more time spent on query formulation, higher quality queries were produced and as consequence the retrieval results improved; both average residual precision and recall was higher with the query preview present.
Publication Details
  • CHI 2013
  • Apr 27, 2013

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Although longer queries can produce better results for information seeking tasks, people tend to type short queries. We created an interface designed to encourage people to type longer queries, and evaluated it in two Mechanical Turk experiments. Results suggest that our interface manipulation may be effective for eliciting longer queries.
2012
Publication Details
  • IIiX 2012
  • Aug 21, 2012

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Exploratory search activities tend to span multiple sessions and involve finding, analyzing and evaluating information and collab-orating with others. Typical search systems, on the other hand, are designed to support a single searcher, precision-oriented search tasks. We describe a search interface and system design of a multi-session exploratory search system, discuss design challenges en-countered, and chronicle the evolution of our design. Our design describes novel displays for visualizing retrieval history infor-mation, and introduces ambient displays and persuasive elements to interactive information retrieval.
Publication Details
  • CHI 2012
  • May 5, 2012

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In this paper we describe our on-going design process in building a search system designed to support people's multi-session exploratory search tasks. The system, called Querium, allows people to run queries and to examine results as do conventional search engines, but it also integrates a sophisticated search history that helps people make sense of their search activity over time. Information seeking is a cognitively demanding process that can benefit from many kinds of information, if that information is presented appropriately. Our design process has been focusing on creating displays that facilitate on-going sense-making while keeping the interaction efficient, fluid, and enjoyable.
Publication Details
  • European Conference on Information Retrieval 2012
  • Apr 1, 2012

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People's information-seeking can span multiple sessions, and can be collaborative in nature. Existing commercial offerings do not effectively support searchers to share, save, collaborate or revisit their information. In this demo paper we present Querium: a novel session-based collaborative search system that lets users search, share, resume and collaborate with other users. Querium provides a number of novel search features in a collaborative setting, including relevance feedback, query fusion, faceted search, and search histories
2011
Publication Details
  • ACM Multimedia Industrial Exhibit
  • Nov 28, 2011

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The Active Reading Application (ARA) brings the familiar experience of writing on paper to the tablet. The application augments paper-based practices with audio, the ability to review annotations, and sharing. It is designed to make it easier to review, annotate, and comment on documents by individuals and groups. ARA incorporates several patented technologies and draws on several years of research and experimentation.
Publication Details
  • HCIR 2011
  • Oct 20, 2011

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We illustrate the use of Querium, a novel search system designed to support people's collaborative and multi-session search tasks, in the context of the HCIR 2011 Search Challenge. This report demonstrates how a Querium's interface and search engine can be used to search for documents in an open-ended, exploratory task. We illustrate the use of relevance feedback, faceted search, query fusion, and the search history, as well as commenting and overview functions.
Publication Details
  • HCIR 2011
  • Oct 19, 2011

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Information seeking is often a collaborative activity that can take can take many forms; in this paper we focus on explicit, intentional collaboration of small and explore a range of design decisions that should be considered when building Human-Computer Information Retrieval (HCIR) tools that support collaboration. In particular, we are interested in exploring the interplay between algorithmic mediation of collaboration and the mediated communication among team members. We argue that certain characteristics of the group's information need call for different design decisions.
Publication Details
  • SIGIR2011
  • Jul 24, 2011

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Temporal aspects of documents can impact relevance for certain kinds of queries. In this paper, we build on earlier work of modeling temporal information. We propose an extension to the Query Likelihood Model that incorporates query-specific information to estimate rate parameters, and we introduce a temporal factor into language model smoothing and query expansion using pseudo-relevance feedback. We evaluate these extensions using a Twitter corpus and two newspaper article collections. Results suggest that, compared to prior approaches, our models are more effective at capturing the temporal variability of relevance associated with some topics.
2010
Publication Details
  • Information Processing & Management, 46 (6), pp. 629-631
  • Nov 1, 2010

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This special issue brings together papers that describe some of the many ways that collaborative information seeking manifests itself. Some papers report on collaborative practices in a range of domains, including medical (Hertzum), legal (Attfield et al.), and online Q&A (Gazan). Others propose and evaluate models of collaborative activity (Evans and Chi; Evans et al.; Wilson and schraefel; Foley and Smeaton), and others describe systems and algorithms that support collaboration in various ways (Boydell and Smyth; Fernandez-Luna et al., Halvey et al., Morris et al.; Shah et al.).
Publication Details
  • Information Processing & Management, 46 (6), pp. 773-781
  • Nov 1, 2010

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We describe a new approach for algorithmic mediation of a collaborative search process. Unlike most approaches to collaborative IR, we are designing systems that mediate explicitly-defined synchronous collaboration among small groups of searchers with a shared information need. Such functionality is provided by first obtaining different rank-lists based on searchers' queries, fusing these rank-lists, and then splitting the combined list to distribute documents among collaborators according to their roles. For the work reported here, we consider the case of two people collaborating on a search. We assign them roles of Gatherer and Surveyor: the Gatherer is tasked with exploring highly promising information on a given topic, and the Surveyor is tasked with digging further to explore more diverse information. We demonstrate how our technique provides the Gatherer with high-precision results, and the Surveyor with information that is high in entropy.
Publication Details
  • ACM Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM 2010)
  • Oct 26, 2010

Abstract

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Traditional interactive information retrieval systems function by creating inverted lists, or term indexes. For every term in the vocabulary, a list is created that contains the documents in which that term occurs and its relative frequency within each document. Retrieval algorithms then use these term frequencies alongside other collection statistics to identify the matching documents for a query. In this paper, we turn the process around: instead of indexing documents, we index query result sets. First, queries are run through a chosen retrieval system. For each query, the resulting document IDs are treated as terms and the score or rank of the document is used as the frequency statistic. An index of documents retrieved by basis queries is created. We call this index a reverted index. Finally, with reverted indexes, standard retrieval algorithms can retrieve the matching queries (as results) for a set of documents (used as queries). These recovered queries can then be used to identify additional documents, or to aid the user in query formulation, selection, and feedback.
Publication Details
  • IIiX 2010
  • Aug 18, 2010

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Exploratory search is a difficult activity that requires iterative interaction. This iterative process helps the searcher to understand and to refine the information need. It also generates a rich set of data that can be used effectively to reflect on what has been found (and found useful). In this paper, we describe a framework for unifying transitions among various stages of exploratory search, and show how context from one stage can be applied to the next. The framework can be used both to describe existing information-seeking interactions, and as a means of generating novel ones. We illustrate the framework with examples from a session-based exploratory search system prototype that we have built.
Publication Details
  • In Proc. CHI2010 Workshop on Microblogging: What and How Can We Learn From It? April 11, 2010
  • Apr 11, 2010

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Twitter provides a search interface to its data, along the lines of traditional search engines. But the single ranked list is a poor way to represent the richly-structured Twitter data. A more structured approach that recognizes original messages, re-tweets, people, and documents as interesting constructs is more appropriate for this kind of data. In this paper, we describe a prototype for exploring search results delivered by Twitter. The design is based on our own experience with using Twitter search, and as well as on the results of an small online questionnaire.

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The use of whiteboards is pervasive across a wide range of work domains. But some of the qualities that make them successful—an intuitive interface, physical working space, and easy erasure—inherently make them poor tools for archival and reuse. If whiteboard content could be made available in times and spaces beyond those supported by the whiteboard alone, how might it be appropriated? We explore this question via ReBoard, a system that automatically captures whiteboard images and makes them accessible through a novel set of user-centered access tools. Through the lens of a seven week workplace field study, we found that by enabling new workflows, ReBoard increased the value of whiteboard content for collaboration.
Publication Details
  • In Proc. CHI 2010
  • Apr 10, 2010

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The modern workplace is inherently collaborative, and this collaboration relies on effective communication among coworkers. Many communication tools – email, blogs, wikis, Twitter, etc. – have become increasingly available and accepted in workplace communications. In this paper, we report on a study of communications technologies used over a one year period in a small US corporation. We found that participants used a large number of communication tools for different purposes, and that the introduction of new tools did not impact significantly the use of previously-adopted technologies. Further, we identified distinct classes of users based on patterns of tool use. This work has implications for the design of technology in the evolving ecology of communication tools.
Publication Details
  • Symposium on Eye Tracking Research and Applications 2010
  • Mar 22, 2010

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In certain applications such as radiology and imagery analysis, it is important to minimize errors. In this paper we evaluate a structured inspection method that uses eye tracking information as a feedback mechanism to the image inspector. Our two-phase method starts with a free viewing phase during which gaze data is collected. During the next phase, we either segment the image, mask previously seen areas of the image, or combine the two techniques, and repeat the search. We compare the different methods proposed for the second search phase by evaluating the inspection method using true positive and false negative rates, and subjective workload. Results show that gaze-blocked configurations reduced the subjective workload, and that gaze-blocking without segmentation showed the largest increase in true positive identifications and the largest decrease in false negative identifications of previously unseen objects.
Publication Details
  • IEEE Pervasive Computing. 9(2). 46-55.
  • Mar 15, 2010

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Paper is static but it is also light, flexible, robust, and has high resolution for reading documents in various scenarios. Digital devices will likely never match the flexibility of paper, but come with all of the benefits of computation and networking. Tags provide a simple means of bridging the gap between the two media to get the most out of both. In this paper, we explore the tradeoffs between two different types of tagging technologies – marker-based and content-based – through the lens of four systems we have developed and evaluated at our lab. From our experiences, we extrapolate issues for designers to consider when developing systems that transition between paper and digital content in a variety of different scenarios.
2009
Publication Details
  • Book chapter in "Designing User Friendly Augmented Work Environments" Series: Computer Supported Cooperative Work Lahlou, Saadi (Ed.) 2009, Approx. 340 p. 117 illus., Hardcove
  • Sep 30, 2009

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The Usable Smart Environment project (USE) aims at designing easy-to-use, highly functional next-generation conference rooms. Our first design prototype focuses on creating a "no wizards" room for an American executive; that is, a room the executive could walk into and use by himself, without help from a technologist. A key idea in the USE framework is that customization is one of the best ways to create a smooth user experience. Since the system needs to fit both with the personal leadership style of the executive and the corporation's meeting culture, we began the design process by exploring the work flow in and around meetings attended by the executive. Based on our work flow analysis and the scenarios we developed from it, USE developed a flexible, extensible architecture specifically designed to enhance ease of use in smart environment technologies. The architecture allows customization and personalization of smart environments for particular people and groups, types of work, and specific physical spaces. The first USE room was designed for FXPAL's executive "Ian" and installed in Niji, a small executive conference room at FXPAL. The room Niji currently contains two large interactive whiteboards for projection of presentation material, for annotations using a digital whiteboard, or for teleconferencing; a Tandberg teleconferencing system; an RFID authentication plus biometric identification system; printing via network; a PDA-based simple controller, and a tabletop touch-screen console. The console is used for the USE room control interface, which controls and switches between all of the equipment mentioned above.
Publication Details
  • Hypertext 2009
  • Jun 29, 2009

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WebNC is a system for efficiently sharing, retrieving and viewing web applications. Unlike existing screencasting and screensharing tools, WebNC is optimized to work with web pages where a lot of scrolling happens. WebNC uses a tile-based encoding to capture, transmit and deliver web applications, and relies only on dynamic HTML and JavaScript. The resulting webcasts require very little bandwidth and are viewable on any modern web browser including Firefox and Internet Explorer as well as browsers on the iPhone and Android platforms.
Publication Details
  • WWW 2009
  • Apr 22, 2009

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WebNC is a browser plugin that leverages the Document Object Model for efficiently sharing web browser windows or recording web browsing sessions to be replayed later. Unlike existing screen-sharing or screencasting tools, WebNC is optimized to work with web pages where a lot of scrolling happens. Rendered pages are captured as image tiles, and transmitted to a central server through http post. Viewers can watch the webcasts in realtime or asynchronously using a standard web browser: WebNC only relies on html and javascript to reproduce the captured web content. Along with the visual content of web pages, WebNC also captures their layout and textual content for later retrieval. The resulting webcasts require very little bandwidth, are viewable on any modern web browser including the iPhone and Android phones, and are searchable by keyword.
Publication Details
  • In Proceedings of CHI 2009
  • Apr 4, 2009

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One of the core challenges now facing smart rooms is supporting realistic, everyday activities. While much research has been done to push forward the frontiers of novel interaction techniques, we argue that technology geared toward widespread adoption requires a design approach that emphasizes straightforward configuration and control, as well as flexibility. We examined the work practices of users of a large, multi-purpose conference room, and designed DICE, a system to help them use the room's capabilities. We describe the design process, and report findings about the system's usability and about people's use of a multi-purpose conference room.